An Italian Sculptor from Cleveland to Faenza

Artistic works in ceramics and sculptures in different materials ranging from terracotta to marble, make-up the production of this artist who expresses himself in every medium in fully rounded figures and rarely allows himself to be influenced by colors. The themes vary from compositions in ceramics to portraits in marble, in works varying in size from small statues to very large works all having the characteristics typical of expressionism.

Sandro (Santo) Bonaiuto was born in Cleveland (Ohio) of Italian parents and has lived in Italy since 1965 establishing contact with the ceramists of Faenza since 1978; in fact, he lives and works between Bagnacavallo and Faïence. The fine quality of Faïence’s ceramics have inspired him to create a bigger than life solution to the life-size “Presepio” filled with love; in terracotta ceramics, and finally in marble sculptures full of personality.

Naturally the number of years this artist has lived in Italy has greatly influenced his understanding of sculpture; strong and dynamic compositions of Michaelangelo type; expressive portraits which bring to mind Federico Barrocci and Andrea Sansovino. In his “Holy Family”, a ceramic composition which he made in 1982, we observe that all of the personages of this “Presepio” have an immense expressivity which expands our minds far beyond the limits of the representation itself. We would like to single out the figure of the Virgin Mary – a woman extremely happy to have in her arms the holy Infant.The portrait of a poet (Apollo) with his brows crowned in laurel leaves, executed in white ceramic – underlines the dramatic elements of this personage – austere and sure of himself, magnetizing everyone in his presence.

The sculpture fragment done in white marble makes us recall certain very figurative works done by the great Henry Moore.

This is a precise piece of sculpture, prismatic in certain details while rough and dramatic in others yet complete in its integrity. In this sculptor grace and sensitivity are always alternated with force and vigour. The statues of the larger than life crèche – which were given as a gift to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, complete the overall vision of this artist. Among his works, we would like to single out the interesting “Flight Into Egypt”, and the model of the Holy family.

This sculptor, who is also a painter, more than anything feels the great fascination of ceramic compositions. He prefers to work in terracotta for its possibilities of being modelled, shaped to the images he would like to bring to life.

Therefore his field of action expands from small sculptures in terracotta to white marble of huge proportions.

Truly a many faceted sculptor from Ohio who has found in Italy, in Faïence, the ideal atmosphere to compose his works of art; and he does so with sensitivity and efficiency.

Tony Bonavita – Art Critic for the Tempo – Rome, Italy – March 6, 1984